32.99 As noted above, many stakeholders expressed the view that the establishment of specialised family violence courts in regional and remote communities is not feasible or practical. While the Commissions agree that this is the case, the issue is whether the benefits of specialisation can be mainstreamed into other courts. For example, the Commissions note that many of the specialised practices in the FVCD have been applied to the Specialised Family Violence Services courts. In the Consultation Paper, the Commissions proposed that state and territory governments should review whether, and to what extent, the following features have been adopted in the courts in their jurisdiction dealing with family violence, with a view to adopting them:
identifying, and listing on the same day, protection order matters and criminal proceedings related to family violence, as well as related family law and child protection matters;
providing victim and defendant support, including legal advice, on family violence list days;
assigning selected and trained judicial officers to work on cases related to family violence;
adopting practice directions for family violence cases;
ensuring that facilities and practices secure victim safety at court; and
establishing a forum for and feedback from, and discussion with, other agencies and non-government organisations.
32.100 A large number of submissions supported this proposal. For example, the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse stated that ‘in the absence of a specialist court these would be beneficial measures’. The Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service Network submitted that:
We believe that listing related matters on the same day will lead to effectiveness and efficiency in outcomes for victims, limit conflicts occurring between protection orders and family violence or family court proceedings, be cost effective and ensure that all parties aren’t required to attend court on numerous occasions for separate matters.
We also believe there needs to be some system for ensuring that in rural and remote regional areas, victims are not unnecessarily disadvantaged by family law court proceedings in terms of access to support services.
32.101 Given the broad support for this proposal, the Commissions are of the view that, where possible, the measures proposed should be adopted in other courts dealing with family violence as best practice, especially in regional and remote communities.
32.102 It would appear efficient for proceedings relating to family violence protection orders, criminal proceedings related to family violence, and child protection to be listed on the same day, or a part of a day, as the caseload permits. Child protection issues can be included because, as noted above, in many rural and remote communities, the local magistrate can convene a children’s court when necessary. This capacity may be more restricted in metropolitan courts where matters are considered by separately constituted children’s courts. If such listing practices are adopted, this will help to facilitate the presence of support workers and legal services for victims and defendants.
32.103 The Commissions recognise the practical difficulties in assigning selected and trained judicial officers to work on cases related to family violence, given the wide range of matters considered by magistrates in regional and remote communities. As such, the Commissions consider that, where possible, judicial officers should receive ongoing training in relation to family violence. In Chapter 31, the Commissions note the importance of judicial officers understanding the nature and dynamics of family violence. The Commissions recommended Australian, state and territory governments and educational, professional and service delivery bodies should ensure regular and consistent education and training for participants in the family law, family violence and child protection systems, in relation to the nature and dynamics of family violence, including its impact on victims, in particular those from high risk and vulnerable groups. As a complement to education and training, the Commissions also recommend the development of a national bench book in relation to family violence, including sexual assault. This is likely to improve consistency in decision making and improve the court experience for victims. The Commissions consider that where the caseload and available resources justify it, specialised police and prosecutors could also be assigned.
32.104 Finally, the Commissions consider that courts generally should review existing court practices with a view to improving victim safety at court. For example, the use of separate exits and entrances, separate waiting rooms for victims, and escorts to and from the courtroom may be ways of improving safety. While modification of facilities may require resources, a review of existing facilities may well identify simple and cost-efficient strategies to achieve these results, including reduced security staff costs and reduced incidents.
Recommendation 32–4 State and territory governments should, where possible, promote the following measures in all courts dealing with family violence matters, including courts in regional and remote communities:
(a) identifying and listing on the same day, protection order matters and criminal proceedings related to family violence, as well as related family law and child protection matters;
(b) training judicial officers in relation to family violence;
(c) providing legal services for victims and defendants;
(d) providing victim support on family violence list days; and
(e) ensuring that facilities and practices secure victim safety at court.
 Consultation Paper, Proposal 20–5.
 WESNET—The Women’s Services Network, Submission FV 217, 30 June 2010; Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse, Submission FV 216, 30 June 2010; National Abuse Free Contact Campaign, Submission FV 196, 26 June 2010; Women’s Legal Service Victoria, Submission FV 189, 25 June 2010; Women’s Legal Service Queensland, Submission FV 185, 25 June 2010; Women’s Legal Services NSW, Submission FV 182, 25 June 2010; Law Council of Australia, Submission FV 180, 25 June 2010; Queensland Law Society, Submission FV 178, 25 June 2010; Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, Submission FV 172, 25 June 2010; Domestic Violence Victoria, Federation of Community Legal Centres Victoria, Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria, Victorian Women with Disabilities Network, Submission FV 146, 24 June 2010; Sydney Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service, Submission FV 132, 22 June 2010; N Ross, Submission FV 129, 21 June 2010; Commissioner for Victims’ Rights (South Australia), Submission FV 111, 9 June 2010; K Johnstone, Submission FV 107, 7 June 2010; Confidential, Submission FV 105, 6 June 2010; Confidential, Submission FV 81, 2 June 2010; C Pragnell, Submission FV 70, 2 June 2010; Queensland Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian, Submission FV 63, 1 June 2010; Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service Network, Submission FV 46, 24 May 2010; M Condon, Submission FV 45, 18 May 2010.
 Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse, Submission FV 216, 30 June 2010.
 Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service Network, Submission FV 46, 24 May 2010.
 Rec 31–1.
 Rec 31–2.